The term, ‘fourth industrial revolution’, was coined by Klaus Schwab, who is the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. It is commonly shortened to 4IR. The 4IR is the latest stage of the industrial revolution after steam-powered mechanical manufacturing facilities, electrically-powered mass production and the early uses of electronics and IT. In the 4IR, new technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robotics and Internet of Things are transforming the world we live and work in. Therefore, many current jobs we know will be replaced with new ones that don’t exist yet.
Here are some skills to help students transition to a career in the 4IR.
It is extremely important for graduates to be prepared well when searching for jobs. Although qualifications are vital, employers also take into account various personal skills and traits. These skills include good attendance, time management, etiquette and personal presentation. Graduates should also know how to write an attractive resume and make use of online platforms such as LinkedIn and JobStreet. In addition, graduates should also be aware about their online presence through their social media accounts. Nowadays, employers can do background checks on potential employees easily with a simple Google search. Any unfavourable picture or comment may affect an individual’s chance of getting employed.
Human skills remain important even in the age of robots and artificial intelligence. In the future, we can expect humans to work alongside robots in various industries. Technical skills and expertise are needed to create and manage new technologies. However, soft skills are evergreen. Interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively with colleagues, customers and management are essential. Other important soft skills include critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration, adaptability, initiative, leadership and social emotional learning. Employees in the 4IR should be mature and future-focused with a growth mindset, empathetic personality and cultural awareness.
The demand for individuals with technical skills has skyrocketed in the 4IR. Parents today are keen to enrol their children as young as five years old in coding and robotics classes. There is also an emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in schools. Skills that are needed in 4IR jobs are computer programming, coding, project management, financial technology & management, mechanical functions, scientific skills and technology-based skills.
According to a report by Dell Technologies, majority of the jobs in 2030 have not been created yet. Therefore, entrepreneurial skills need to be instilled in future graduates so that they can overcome any career-related obstacles in the 4IR. For example, if their current job is no longer relevant, they have the necessary skills to build on new ideas and eventually set up their own business. Independent and creative workers will stand out as 4IR is rapidly changing with new developments. Other than entrepreneurial skills, innovation, resourcefulness, business savviness and a risk-taking attitude are valuable.
Professional readiness, soft skills, technical and entrepreneurial skills are needed to adapt to a new era of jobs and careers. It is not too late for students, graduates and even working adults to pick up skills to prepare themselves for the 4IR.